Saya Systems logo Security and Privacy in
Software and Systems
Applied Technology for
Science, Engineering
and Business

Security Design in Distributed Systems
Research and Practical Application

Developed multi-level security mechanisms for a CIA-funded project in research and development of distributed information retrieval systems. 1984-1987

Responsible for security issues in a range of distributed computing environments and networks over many years. 1988-2006

In looking for a tractable design methodology for secure systems, I came to realize that none existed. Although much is understood about many aspects of computer security, little attention has been given to the the issue of how to integrate this knowledge into a design process; of how to generate and maintain a security architecture in a systematic, predictable manner. 1988-1990

Developed a new security design methodology (Ph.D. research), based on object-oriented modeling of the application and environment, with information flow analysis to automatically discover security policy violations. Safeguards can then be modeled and added to the flow analysis to readily assess their effects. 1990-1993

A Note on Security and Safety

Security and safety are essentially the same problem, differing only in the "policy" that must be enforced. The "policy" is like the requirements specification for any system, specifying what the system is supposed to do. However, with security and safety, the requirements specification can not stop there. The system must not only (1) do what it is supposed to do, but must also (2) NEVER do what it is NOT supposed to do. The latter, #2, is what makes the design of secure or safe systems so tricky. It is essentially a negative requirements specification with a huge (if not infinite) domain.

To learn more, see selections under Secure Systems at left.

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